The next few years will see Crawley Borough Council facing some "very difficult choices" as it tries to drag itself out of the financial hole caused by Covid-19.
Council leader Peter Lamb told members during a virtual meeting that the first quarter of the financial year had brought a £1.2m deficit, with more bad news to follow.
He said: “We need to be clear, this is not going to be the end of it.
“Certainly there will be further deficits in subsequent quarters, particularly if we’re required to go back into lockdown, which would drastically affect our income.”
So far this year, the council has lost £343,000 of income from its car parks, £1.29m from sports and recreation and £227,000 of culture-related income, including the town’s community centres.
Mr Lamb told the committee "much, much harsher problems" could be round the corner as both Parkwood Theatres and Freedom Leisure, who run the Hawth Theatre and K2 leisure centre respectively, were working to claim compensation for having to close the facilities.
On top of that, the economic impact on both the town and Gatwick Airport meant more and more people would see their income fall to such a level that they would be able to claim council tax benefit.
Mr Lamb said: “We are going to have some very, very difficult choices to take."